Friday, March 12, 2010

The power of observation

Change of plans. This really is the norm for daily life at a veterinary clinic. I was going to blog this week about some really great indoor cat information that I found at the veterinary conference last month. But alas, it has been crazy busy this week at the clinic courtesy of sunny days and warmer weather. (Just remember to be careful with your puppies and kitties when outside because I have treated quite a few animals that have been hit by cars this week. Happens every year with the first warm weather.) Anyway, the indoor cat project has a LOT of information I need to organize so that I can at least somewhat coherently blog about it. Plus I have a whole bunch of great pictures that were sent to me just for this topic and I have to organize them too. Thanks Vicki! I am so grateful to you for sending me the pictures. So stay tuned for more on the indoor cat blog.

Instead I am going to tell you about something that happened at the clinic this week that I think is just so cool. I don't mean it's cool about animals being sick of course, but, oh, here is the story.... Earlier this week I saw the sweetest little black and white cat named Broccoli. Is that not a cool cat name? OK, maybe it's because I really like broccoli (the vegetable), but everything about Broccoli (the cat) is likable. Well, Broccoli came to see me because her "mom" noticed that her hair coat was just not very shiny and well-groomed like it usually was. There was a little bit of hair loss under the tail too, but not very bad. Broccoli was eating, drinking and acting fine, but something was not quite right. First I must tell you that Broccoli was 6 years old and not spayed. There never seemed the need since she was an indoor only cat, perfectly behaved and never had those awful symptoms of being in heat that make owners call me on emergency asking to spay their cat NOW! After the physical exam, I had my suspicions and the rest of the tests confirmed that Broccoli indeed had pyometra - aka an infection in her uterus. In case you don't remember, I blogged about pyometra in dogs a couple times back last fall. Those blogs can be found here and also here. Pyometra is a little different in cats than in dogs, but the result is pretty much the same. It makes cats really sick and the treatment of choice is surgery to spay. Fortunately for Broccoli, her owner realized something was wrong very early in the whole disease process before Broccoli got too sick. Here is a picture of the little kitty's not so little cat uterus at surgery. The little tiny arrow (do you see it?) points to a cyst on one of the ovaries.

Here's cute little Miss Broccoli snoozing under the "covers" at the clinic shortly after surgery. So kudos to Broccoli's owner for paying such close attention and realizing that something was not quite right. Remember, Broccoli was eating and drinking just fine. Her only real symptom was the tiny bit of hair loss around her private parts (from licking the discharge coming from her vulva) and that her hair coat didn't look normal. That is what I call good power of observation! Just a reminder of how important it is to pay attention to our furry family members because although they cannot speak to us in words, they often can tell us when they are sick if we are only willing to "listen".

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